In Arizona, a new bill has been introduced that would kill renewable energy progress in the state.

HB 2701 would establish a legislative version of the Arizona Corporation Commission’s regulatorily-implemented Renewable Energy Standard of 15% by 2020, but with some tragic differences.

For one, the bill would redefine renewables to include large hydro and nuclear.

The problem—in addition to the obvious—is that this would simply redefine the goal as something that already exists.

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Arizona Public Service, the largest utility in the state, gets 27% of its retail energy from nuclear in 2009.

Salt River Project projects that 17% of its retail energy (pdf)would come from nuclear in FY2010

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And most utilities in the state have significant amount of hydro from dams along the Salt and Colorado Rivers.  By redefining the goal as something that already exists, there is no market push for new real renewable generation.

That’s a big problem. The state has been making huge strides to grow the local renewable energy industry, and growth in the local solar market has induced at least two solar manufacturers to set up shop there.  If the bill were to pass, dollars to donuts that facility Suntech announced goes someplace else.

The bill is being heard in committee next Tuesday.